Ethereum developers deliberated Thursday about the next consensus layer upgrade after the 2024 Dencun network hard fork

Even as developers are observing Dencun on a testing network, they have also begun evaluating and prioritizing Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) for Electra, the following upgrade on the consensus layer. 

During a live-streamed meeting that takes place every two weeks, developers touched on a range of topics that included potentially increasing the maximum number of ETH a validator can stake, addressing censorship in Ethereum’s block production and scaling up data availability. 

Debating EIPs

Currently, the staking balance of a single Ethereum validator is 32 ETH, but Mike Neuder, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, is trying to create a range that would raise the limit on validators. His EIP-7251 aims to increase a validator’s maximum balance 64 times to 2,048 ETH from 32 ETH. 

“The high-level reason for doing this EIP is to allow some consolidation of the total number of validators we have,” Neuder said in today’s consensus layer meeting, “We’re currently at around 900,000.” 

Ethereum developers also discussed EIP-7594. It concerns peer-data availability sampling, which is a method to progress from EIP-4844 levels of scale “where everyone’s downloading blobs” of data, to a level beyond that: “Call it full danksharding,” said Ethereum Foundation researcher Danny Ryan, who chairs the biweekly consensus meetings. (EIP-4844 is nicknamed “Proto-Danksharding” after its two main authors.)

Developers have not decided whether to prioritize EIP-7251 and EIP-7594 in Electra. 

Another proposal, EIP-7547, was removed from consideration in the Electra upgrade. EIP-7547 aims to make Ethereum more censorship-resistant. Neuder, one of its authors, highlighted an Ethereum dashboard that showed the censorship of different operators in the block production pipeline. According to community resource website, builders censored about 67% of data blocks by excluding transactions from sanctioned crypto addresses.

EIP-7547 entails a forced transaction inclusion mechanism that specifies what transactions must be included in blocks to be considered valid. “This is a relatively newer EIP, but I think the ideas are very well established and important for one of the core properties on Ethereum, which is censorship resistance,” noted Neuter. 

Gajinder Singh, maintainer of Ethereum clients Lodestar and EthereumJS, replied, “We support the EIP, but we don’t feel strongly about it, because we feel that not all options have been exhausted.” Ryan didn’t get any volunteers when he asked if anyone wanted to make the case for EIP-7547’s prioritization in Electra.

Developers did agree to prioritize EIP-7002, which allows validators to trigger exits through their execution layer withdrawal credentials, according to the EIP’s resource page. Ryan noted that EIP-7002 “is relatively straightforward” on both the consensus layer and execution layer. “It is a new operation type, but [it] triggers very well-known exit code paths,” which refer to the different ways a validator can exit from its role in securing the Ethereum network.

When Ryan asked in Monday’s meeting whether anyone was against the inclusion of EIP-7002 in Electra, no one objected to it.